Seems like ages ago, my friend Sarah and I spend a lovely afternoon in Corrales, just north of ABQ. After brunch at Indigo Crow, a fabulous little cafe with yummy goat cheese omelets and a shady patio, we headed to Casa San Ysidro. This gem had been on my list of places to see since I moved. It is owned and run by the ABQ Museum of Art and History. Tours are scheduled a couple times a day. Throughout the year they hold ‘living history’ type events with re-enactments of everyday life. Our docent was incredibly knowlegable. More info than I could possibly retain filled my head.
What a life these folks had! Apparently, the Don Felipe Gutierrez family recieved a land grant in 1704 from Spain. The land is a long rectangle that adjoins the Rio Grande, a precious commodity. It all started as a “mud hut” with no windows and mabye a blanket on the door. As generations went on, they aquired more wealth, more family to earn more, and the home grew into what was then very affluent. It consisted of four rooms growing to a larger “L” shape with an inner courtyard. Much of the home’s design was about security.
They do not allow photos taken indoors, only out. I’ve included links to some virtual tours offering peeks indoors. What amazed me was the simplicity of the thick, (3-4 feet) adobe walls, what were dirt floors, joined with luxury items such as iron beds and cookstoves that must have taken LONG train rides to make it to that part of the world (which was truly on the fringes). They were innitially completely self-sufficient. Recycling was crucial (evident by the reuse of cans in light fixtures, mirrors.) Nails were rarely used. Iron scarce. As time went on they had money to import items such as spices and silk.
The museum and collectors have gathered a collection of over 1300 items for the property. Most items were not original to the site but representative of hundreds of years of what would be there. They range from early Spanish Colonial New Mexican styles to 19th century Victorian artifacts. Religious artifacts abound. Tools, pottery, a very cool, huge loom, woven rugs and fine embroidered bed linens were there. One could see their wealth in the presence of furniture for children. A frivolity.
Casa San Ysidro is on the New Mexico State Register of Cultural Property
A virtual tour can be found here: http://www.cabq.gov/museum/history/casavirtualtour.html
This link shows interior photos as well as more history.
After this, Sarah and I found a road-side produce market, roasting chilis. I picked up a couple of bags for hte freezer and an looking for a green chili recipe or worth. Mmmm…
Some pictures from the day:
Highly recommended you see this place if ever in these parts.